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New Understanding of Mesoamerican History Exactly Matches Creek Migration Legends

New Understanding of Mesoamerican History Exactly Matches Creek Migration Legends
The Mayas Then and Today – Part Three

During the latter half of the 20th century,  the “Prime Objectives” of Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia were really economic development of the country via heritage tourism and bolstering of cultural self-confidence among its citizenas.  Emphasis was placed on reconstruction of big, showy Mesoamerican city sites that were close to international airports.  The INAH was also developing a chain of over 100 museums to explain the nation’s ancient history to both tourists and the Mexican people.  

Very little investment was made into the study of the less-advanced peoples at the periphery of the advanced civilizations.   Neither North American, European nor Mexican archaeologists were the least bit interested in the lifestyles of the illiterate Maya Commoners, who made up at least 90% of the population. How things have changed.

Today, the vast majority of archaeological and ethnological reports, now published online by the INAH, are concerned with lesser known cultures and town sites, a chain of ports along the Gulf and Pacific Coasts or with the lives of the commoners.  The new information exactly meshes with what we discovered in the Creek Migration Legends that were found in a box at Lambeth Palace on April 29, 2015.

(Photo Above) Almost perfect weather conditions in early August enabled me to take this spectacular photo of the Observatory at Chichen Itza.   Little did I know that in the 21st century, we would realize that events in Chichen Itza and Palenque, several hundred miles to the south, had such a profound effect on the the Pre-Columbian history of the Southeastern United States.


The Greater Mayan Cultural Sphere

In many ways,  the Mayan Civilization’s impacts on Central America and North America were very similar to that of the Roman Empire’s effect on the peripheral areas of Europe.   Mexican anthropologists had not realized this fact, during the era in which I studied and traveled in their country.   Both Mexican and international archaeologists for many decades were focused on the big cities, big buildings and trophy artifacts in the southern half of Mexico, plus Guatemala and Honduras.  During my first two trips to Mexico,  Belize was called British Honduras!  In the 1980s,  the government of newly independent Belize began opening up its Maya sites to archaeologists and tourism. However, Belize’s emphasis was still on “showy” sites that would attract tourists.

This myopic focus caused archaeologists to miss cities or even entire cultures elsewhere.   It is only in recent years that the INAH finally noticed an advanced Maya-like civilization in western Tamaulipas State that had many cultural traits like the Muskogean Peoples of the Southeastern United States.   Its clay-stuccoed, earthen pyramids were identical to those in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Western Tennessee and the region around Cahokia Mounds.

The INAH also finally recognized the important role that the illiterate Putan (Chontal) Maya merchants had in spreading the essences of advanced Mesoamerican culture to a large swath of the Americas.  They have been finding regularly spaced, artificial ports built by the Putan Mayas all along the Gulf Coast . . . almost to the Rio Grande River.   Dr. Román Piña Chán, *  my fellowship coordinator, never even mentioned the Chontal Mayas to me, even though he was half Maya and grew up in a coastal town on the Gulf that was originally a Chontal Maya port!

*Wikipedia will translate this into English for you.  Look for a tab in the upper right hand corner.

Apparently,  this ignorance of the Putan Maya’s culture, history and nautical skills still exist in the majority of anthropology programs in the Southeastern United States.   The Southeastern archaeologists would not have made such foolish statements in 2012 during the “Mayas in Georgia Thang”  if they had been aware of the research going on in Mexico now.

In the next portion of our series on the Mayas,  POOF will examine the new understanding of Mesoamerican history coming out the INAH and compare it to the traditional beliefs of the Muskogean peoples as to who they are and where they came from.  You will be amazed!

Central courtyard of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia de Mexico

Central courtyard of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia de Mexico

Mexican TV Documentary on Dr. Román Piña Chán

The recognition of the evidence of Maya refugees coming to North America that has occurred on this website over the past five years is a direct result of comments made by Dr. Román Piña Chán during our first orientation meeting at the Museo Nacional de Antropología de México.  I had given him two books on the advanced Native American cultures of the Southeast. It is a Latin American tradition that a graduate student present his or her professor with such a gift, when initiating special tutelage as I was about to receive.   His first impressions started me a lifelong quest.

MayaFamilyMediumNotice  that Dr. Piña Chán was descended from the same branch of the Mayas that I visited in Article Two of this series.   He had the the same unusual facial features as the petite Maya woman, who was my hostess in Eastern Campeche State.

This 10 minute documentary was made by Mexican Public Television about a month before he died in 2001.  I hardly recognized the feeble, wheelchair-bound man they interviewed.  I remembered him as a robust intellectual giant, who was constantly going into the jungles and rugged mountains of Mexico to gain new knowledge.

The program is in Spanish, but those who don’t know Spanish will probably get the gist of what is being said from the images.  In particular, I wanted POOF readers to see professional  architectural videography of the Maya cities.  Invariably . . . the History Channel included . . . gringo film makers use lenses that distort the appearance of Maya buildings to make them appear more mysterious.


Mayas . . . Then and Now Series on POOF


Part One – When the Mayas Invaded America

Part Two – Meeting the Mayas

Part Three –  New Understanding of Mesoamerican History Exactly Matches Creek Migration Legends

Part Four – Origins of the Mayas

Part Five – Symbols of Earliest Known Olmec Writing System Found in Florida and Georgia

Part Six – Five Waves of Maya Immigration into the Southeast

Part Seven – The Chichen Itza – Palenque Connection


The Many Migration Legends of the Creek People

Images: The Tamaulipas-Chattahoochee Connection

Image:  Maya “Indian Mounds” and the Creek Migration Legend

Images: The Coastal Marshes of Vera Cruz and Tabasco States

 Article: Are the Muskogee-Creek People Descendants of the Olmec Civilization?

Article: Did “Apocalypto” Really Happen?

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Mr. Thornton,
    You need to come to Rome, GA and see the Chieftains Museum Major Ridge Home. I think some of your “research” needs to be expanded to include NW GA. I’m assuming you have heard of Chief John Ross and Major Ridge.

    • Thanks for writing POOF

      Actually, I have lived near Downtown Rome on top of the hill next to the Etowah River where the Jewish cemetery is located. I was the architect for the restoration of three blocks of large buildings along North Broad Street and 2nd Ave. I have done a lot of research in NW Georgia. Before Rome I lived near Etowah Mounds and then in Pine Log, where Sequoyah, Charles Hicks and John Ridge lived for awhile. After Rome I lived in Pickens County, only a few miles away from the site of the great town of Kusa.


    Richard Thornton,

    I have looked at the map you included in your article post.
    Does the map infact show that the “Andean” tribes migrated
    via the Caribbean islands (Cuba), Florida to the north and
    from there migrated westward to Mexico and onward to the north into the Chaco Canyon / New Mexico region?

    If so, Could it be that the “Chiliquin” district of the Province
    of the Chachapoyas in the Amazon region of Peru is the true
    origin of the so-called Pueblos / Zuni (and related) cliff
    dwellers of New Mexico?
    When one searches for dwelling places in the Chachapoyas
    Peru, you will find cliff tombs and cliff dwellings similar to
    the ones you find in New Mexico.

    It’s very speculative yet something worth looking into.
    Who knows, maybe there is some truth in the so-called
    Cherokee migration legend of the “Ani Yunwiya” that they
    came from the southwest (New Mexico) and that “Chiliquin”
    which is in Peru, is the origin of the name “Cherokee”.

    Personaly I am still convinced that the name “Cherokee”
    is linked to (derived from) the name “Chorokhi” a river in
    the autonomous province of Ajaria, Georgia – Caucasus.
    The Chorokhi river itself starts in eastern Turkey (Anatolia).

    As far I know, there are atleast three placenames similar to
    Cherokee to be found on or at least near the westcoast of
    the Americas: 1 – Chiliquin (Peru), 2 – Chiriqui (Panama /
    Costa Rica), 3 – Chiloquin (Oregon, USA)
    Note: Chiloquin is a relatively new placename and named
    after a Chief of the Klamath tribe, Chilaquin.

    • It’s possible, but I am not that knowledgeable on the Southwestern tribes. The difference is that I know enough of the Creek languages to recognize borrowed words from South American languages. Also, most Creeks of pure Creek (no Algonquian) heritage are the Type C Haplogroup like Mesoamerican and Peruvian tribes. I am Type C.


        Richard Thornton and Jonathan Rex,

        Thank you for your messages. The Cherokee origin is such a
        complex topic. Once you think you have come to the final
        conclusion another possible link and information shows up.

        For now ‘m sticking with the “Chorokhi” as origin of the
        Cherokee. I will take any new information into consideration.

        I myself am far from being as knowledgeable as most POOF
        members / visitors are.
        Having said that; I’m someone who likes to conduct my
        own research instead of taking every study, story etc. as fact
        at face value.

        I don’t mean to disrespect or accuse anyone of not being
        100% native American. However in the case of The Cherokee, it’s time for them to embrace the fact that most of them are of Middle-Eastern, Caucasian, Asia Minor / Turkish / Anatolian descent.

        Thank you Jonathan for bringing up information of your
        own studies / research. I did not know about the Sherphadic Jewish surname “Chriqui”.
        I wonder if the name or word “Chriqui” was used by themselfs to refer to most if not all the Sephardic Jews.
        The fact remains essentially the same; The majority of the
        Cherokee are descendant of people from the Middle-east, Caucasus and Asia Minor (Turkey) region.
        “Chriqui” is yet another possible proof that the name
        Cherokee is linked to the Middle-east, Caucasus and Anatolia.

        The similar names on / near the westcoast of the Americas
        could be coincidence, by chance and not related at all; yet
        still open for debate.


      I know your question was meant for Richard but I’ve made some interesting linguistic studies on the name “Cherokee”:

      In North Africa the Moroccan Jews are known as Chriqui and there is a famous Hollywood actress who has the Moroccan Jewish surname: Emmannuelle Chriqui

      In Peru there is a province called Chiriqui and that may be from Spanish influence. The surnam Chriqui does mean “Easterner” and referred to Sephardic Jews in Morocco who were originally from Ancient Anatolia (whose capital city was “Ani” with Yvnwiya sounding an awful lot like Yvwiya (Yahweh). Your connection to the Chorokhi River makes sense in that light.

      It is important to note that the French also referred to many Natives “east” of their forts along the Mississippi, including the Shawnee as Chouraqui. No Hebrew Cha’raccia means (Life Heavenly) and would refer to mountain people.

      The fact that the French and Spanish were competing over the region throughout the 1500’s and 1600’s before the British really even gained influence in the mountains makes it very likely that the word Cherokee, Chouraqui wasn’t a reference to the race of the Indians or the origin but was a linguistic reference to their location. When the Spaniards began using the word for people they acquired it from Sephardic Jews. Chriqui became Chiriqui with the Spanish.

      I don’t think the word Cherokee originally actually referred to a specific tribe or people but was a reference in the Eastern U.S. to the mixing races of Eastern people. Many were Indians, others were Sephardic Jews who arrived fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and found refuge as allies of the French among the Indians. The linguistics all converging and meshing well it seems cultures merged also.

      When books were written comparing the Cherokee to Jews they were often written by crypto Jews such as James Adair from Ireland who immediately recognized Jewish traditions mixed in. Adair is from the Hebrew word Adar. Ani in Tsalagi means “a people” or “the people”. Ancient Anatolia’s capital city of Ani also was used to refer to “a people”. When paired with George Gist’s (Sequoyah) actual original script we immediately notice the style of writing strongly resembles Moroccan and Turkish Arabic that Arabic speaking Jews used.

      When the Angolan African relatives of the Ndongo Queen Nzinga were kidnapped by the Porguguese in 1618 they were taken to Brazil and intercepted by a Dutch Man of War piloted by a Sephardic Jewish captain named Jope who left them to Jamestown in 1619 in exchange for provisions. Those 22 Ndongo were not able to be sold as slaves by British law because they were nobility in Angola. They all had Portuguese names before being kidnapped because the Ndongo were by then Christians. Jamestown, trying to keep a fragile peace with Opechanacanough gave them to him in 1619. Pocahontas had died in 1617 and her father died in 1618 and Opechanacanough hated Europeans and wanted war so they were used as a peace offering.

      The Ndongo women were given their own village which they called Nsubwanyi (New Place) in 1620. They called themselves “Malungu” which meant “watercraft” in Ndongo and came to mean “comrades”. Powhatan men intermarried with them and the Ndongo warriors joined the Powhatan Confederacy by proving themselves in the Powhatan Massacre of the Bennett Plantation where the only 5 survivors were the Angolan slaves on the plantation who the Malungu recognized. During those attacks on Jamestown several dozen Slavic, Nordic and Irish female slaves were taken and they joined the Nsubwanyi. The Powhatan warriors also mixed with them. This gave rise to Virginia’s first major Tri-Racial group called the Malungees (plural). From Virginia some went south into the Carolinas and intermarried with other mixed race people. The majority went west into the mountains and were called Melange (mixed) by the French. These were ancestors of the Magoffin Melungeons of Magoffin and Floyd County Kentucky.

      The word Shawnee, I believe, comes from Nsubwanyi. And so does the Cherokee suffix of “yi” which is originally Ndongo (African) for a place or location. That the Shawnee, Melungee and Cherokee were all relatives and connected to the Lenape (Delaware) is obvious. The Cherokee Moytoy Chiefs were all distant cousins of the Shawnee Hokolesqua Chiefs. Cornstalk actually married a Moytoy daughter to strengthen that bond. The Melungee being between them were absorbed for a time, some as Shawnee and others as Cherokee, in Kentucky. This is why all Melungeons say that they are Shawnee or Cherokee. They were called Chouraqui long before Christian Priber arrived and began trying to create a French allied communistic-life nation which he called the Chouraqui (Cherokee) as a French speaking Jewish agent from Germany. James Adair meanwhile was an English speaking Jewish agent from Ireland working for the British out of South Carolina. The British and French played an enormous role in the creation of the Cherokee as a distinct united people.

      This is just the conclusion I’ve come to. Makes much more sense to me than the standard narrative given for the people being a united ancient people. Rituals such as “going to water” resemble Jewish baptism. In Tsalagi Yvwiya is a name for God and the word Yvwi is a name for the human being. The Yvwi in Yvwiya (human in God) is Pantheistic and matches the ideas of Baruch Spinoza and other Jewish Mystics of the time perfectly. Ayvwi was a word for the “Indian” and “Ani-Yvwiya” means “People of Yahweh”. This cannot be a coincidence.

      The sacred flame, seven sided council house where the flame is kept burning, the peace town where war and weapons were not permitted, etc all very strongly resemble Eastern (Anatolian) Jewish customs. The fact the Cherokee and Shawnee wore turbans with feathers in them also is highly suggestive. Sequoyah was definitely Jewish because Christopher Gist was his grandfather through Nathaniel Gist. Mordechai Gist was his cousin. The Gist family were all Crypto-Jews (Jews living publically as Christians but privately as Jews). Daniel Boone even worked for a Jewish firm in Virginia that financed the Transylvania Land Company and Ohio Land Company which George Washington’s father helped create. Can’t recall the name of the Jewish firm but that is very well known historically.

      Most real Cherokee today will notice when they do genealogy from the mid-1800’s back they begin seeing a lot of Native ancestors with Jewish first names. Old Abram of Chilhowee is a perfect example. Abram was used, not Abraham. Avram or Avi was never used by Christians at that time.


    My daughter is heading to Tulum this weekend. Not as historically famous as some of the other sites, but truly interesting and not as crowded. (Wish I was going with her.)

    As always, thanks for the great article!

    • Tulum is beautiful! It has more of an Aztec feeling to it, but still very interesting.

      Richard T.


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